Parents' Guide to

Tom Jones

By Tracey Petherick, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Oscar-winning adventure comedy has dated sexist humor.

Movie NR 1963 129 minutes
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Despite winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1963 comedy-of-errors feels old-fashioned and at times thoroughly inappropriate. Finney is fantastic as the cocky but ultimately honorable Tom, while York's performance as the charming but wise Sophie brings much-needed refinement to the whole affair. Considering its age, much of Tom Jones is cinematically brilliant, beautifully shot with some impressive set pieces and clever camera angles. There is plenty of humor throughout, with tongue-in-cheek remarks from the narrator, and endless farcical scenarios.

The director, Tony Richardson, uses techniques like silent movie-style stills and sped-up footage set to jolly organ music. When the actors "break the fourth wall," looking directly at the camera for comic effect, it feels innovative and enjoyably intimate. Unfortunately, despite the quality of the film-making and acting, the genuine laughs and some actual moments of tenderness, the overriding tone of Tom Jones feels outdated. What was once considered saucy slapstick is now bawdy and disrespectful. Objectifying women just isn't that funny anymore.

Movie Details

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